Friday, February 24, 2012

The Hunting of the Salad

Getting my salad together for February was quite an ordeal after that prolonged spell of heavy frost. Gone were most of the plants that so amply provided me and me chooks with greens over the Winter months. Even the veg in my unheated greenhouse croaked it. Not good.
This, for instance, used to be bright and glossy red Swiss chard that has now turned into an unappetizing bit of snot (sorry). I was spoiled for choice last month for putting together a salad for Salad Days but not this time. So I had a spot of hunting to do. In my potager I found this
red chicory

Wintercress (Barbarea spp) sown by my own slightly grubby hands
Red Russian Kale
Egyptian walking onions
Hairy Bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta), an edible weed
Lettuce, many heads of it have survived the frost onslaught
Another kind of lettuce (I often sow mixed salad leaf seeds so no idea which one it is)
Wild rocket
In my kitchen kitchen garden I found this
More lettuce
In the fridge this
A jar of sprouts
And finally in my conservatory I spotted a nice big clump of this
wild rocket
With all that salad hunting done I'd become quite pekkish so I put together this plate
my February salad
and added cherry toms, old Dutch cheese, ghurkins and sprouts and sprayed it all with balsamico vinegar & olive oil, then milled some fresh black pepper and sea salt over it

This week I've been sowing quite a lot of munchable goodies so hopefully next month I won't have to hunt high and low to put a decent salad together.

copyright 2012 Y.E.W. Heuzen

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Garden Goals

I like setting myself goals to achieve in the garden. My first goal was to have something in flower in my garden all year long. That proved to be a very easy goal to reach as I garden in zone 8 and winters are mostly pretty mild. Even the odd very cold winter doesn't put a spanner in the wheel flowering wise. We are going through a cold spell at the mo but my Winter Yasmin, Hellebores, Viburnum bodnantense Dawn, Winter Aconites, Crocus, Snowdrops, Iris and Hamamelis are still flowering happily.
Hamamelis in flower since last December
So, to raise the bar a bit, I set myself another goal; to have bunches of flowers from my garden in the house during each and every month of the year. I love picking flowers from my own garden as they are often scented, pretty, varied & free from any pesticides or other cides you can think of.

I'm happy to say that I've achieved that second goal too. Granted, the bunches of flowers from the garden can sometimes be rather small,
A small posy of Rosa Moonlight picked in early January 2012
frightfully tiny even,
but they count nevertheless.

And last autumn I set myself a third goal: growing vegetables in my potager for 12 months of the year. I haven't reached that goal yet because I only started last September (with sowing lots of vegs for the winter months) but I'm getting there.  Harvesting vegs in winter can be a bit of a challenge but so far I'm doing great: Brussels sprouts, cavolo nero, red cabbage, Jerusalem fartichokes, leeks, carrots, kale, Swiss chard, wild rocket and much, much more. So much in fact that I manage to score at least 1 meal and fresh greens galore for my chooks from the potager on a daily basis. Salads I love so I have them almost daily and fortunately in my potager I'm still spoilt for choice as you can see here:
Salad of giant red mustard, wild rocket, mibuna, lettuce, land cress, red chicory and endive.

It was utterly yummy, not to mention healthy.

Dear Veg Plotting has set herself a garden goal too: to have a salad from the garden at least once a  week for a whole year and as I thought it a splendid idea I've joined in the fun of what is now called 52 Week Salad Challenge.

copyright 2012 Y.E.W. Heuzen

Thursday, January 5, 2012

January Bliss

Amaryllis Alfresco
Russian Blues Merlin (l) and his Mum Delia
Tasty & colourful salad from my potager today
My tree is still there to brighten up my day
Harvested last October and still going strong
Winter Jasmin
Colour your garden with vegetables
The potager today
. Hellebore Emma, named after my beloved Russian Blue kittycat
Cheap and cheerful!
Witch hazel
The greenhouse lives up to its name
Jeeves taking a snooze in my toasty greenhouse

January dull and grey? Cold even?
Not today! During a sunny spell temperatures reached an almost summer-y 17.6 C (63.68F) in the unheated greenhouse.Not bad eh? Jeeves & I spend a pleasant few hours there, he mostly snoozing, me mostly pottering. So you see, a colourful and gardening filled January is possible. Sometimes!

Before I forget: a very happy and healthy New Year to you and yours! XXX

copyright 2012 Y.E.W. Heuzen